The truth is, I have never actually met Kelsey, but I hope some day we can meet in person and share a cup of coffee! Recently, she sent me a message on Instagram about how she wanted to order a Lion painting and how the "as you are" series had really impacted her life at a time she needed it most...
"...For some encouragement on your Monday. I bought a bracelet in 2016 that says “as you are” from the blog you were writing/organizing at that time. It was a super relevant message that God spoke to me through during that season of my life. So I just wanted to say thank you. I have worn the bracelet every single day since August 2016. And have even bought a few for my YoungLife girls I lead in Oregon."
Kelsey's message encouraged me to start posting these stories again, so I asked her to write the next "as you are" blog, in response to the question below –
"What does it mean to you that you are loved as you are, and how has that impacted your life?"
“I am not enough”.
Since I was a young girl, this narrative has taunted me. I often get caught up believing I am not a “good enough” friend, pediatric nurse, Younglife leader, or just not a good enough overall.
So what has been my “fix”?
I strive. I please. I perform. I hide the real me.
For as long as I can remember, I have tried to find an antidote to this problem, or something I could do to fix the hole in my heart. I longed to feel known, loved and free, but instead I kept feeling like a total and complete hot mess.
Like a buoy in the middle of the ocean, I was tossed and thrown in any direction. My identity depended upon my circumstances and the voices of the people around me. I became really good at measuring my worth and identity by the wrong things – what others thought of me, how well I pleased others (any other people pleasers out there?), relationships, my appearance, and if I could put a smile on my face and act like everything was okay.
if I looked like I had it all together on the outside, then it would magically change how I felt on the inside, right?
It was like walking around with a mask on my face; never feeling truly known.
As far back as middle school, I recall singing Taylor Swift’s song “Forever and Always” at the top of my lungs in my room (usually with a hair brush microphone) because the lyrics struck a cord in me. I so badly wanted someone to come along and be my forever and always, never leave and tell me I was good enough. Maybe this would finally make me feel good enough?
Also, can I get an amen from all the TSwift fans out there?!
As women today, we are bombarded with two opposing messages – We think we are good enough alone, or our self-esteem becomes inflated with false empowerment narratives.
BuT, in the long run, neither of these actually makes us feel complete.
“For in Christ all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.” Colossians 2:9-10
I hate to break it to you sister, but you are not enough by yourself. When we are striving to be enough on our own we are denying our desperate need for grace and love. Only IN JESUS am I complete – I am enough in Him and because of Him.
God says, “I love you, exactly as you are, daughter. you are worthy and in me you are made complete.”
His view of us is the ONLY one that will never change. He is the ONLY one who will not let us down and defines who we are; no human can hold this responsibility.
We are limited, but He is limitless.
We are not defined by our successes or failures, or by what we do or do not do. Paul reminds us in the Bible that our worth and position before God is not defined by our actions, but rather by what He did for us. We are chosen, accepted, and protected in Him.
Since our good behavior did not earn God’s acceptance, then our bad behavior cannot un-earn it.
“God demonstrated his own love for us, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
So listen closely, love, this means that it is all about Jesus’ “doing” for us by dying on the cross. He did this because he’s so crazy about us he could not stay away. We can stop trying so stinkin’ hard and stop proving ourselves as a cover-up.
The phrase “as you are” stuck with me ever since I heard it because, truth be told, I heard it at a time in my life when I didn’t feel very loved as I was. I felt more rejected, lost and well… not good enough. However, I have worn a bracelet around my wrist every single day for the past two years with “as you are” engraved on it because I need to be reminded every single day that I am loved as I am.
So here I am, in all my mess, reminding you – Jesus loves you as you are.
I encourage you to dig into what that means. Discovering who the Lord says you are is the best investment of you could ever make. As you grow in who you are in God, you will find purpose and freedom in the journey. Be patient with yourself. There is an unraveling process as we dig into our soul and let Jesus heal us from our past.
His grace is sufficient for you, sweet girl.
Most importantly, ask yourself: who is saying the thoughts that go through your head about who you are?
Bob Goff says, “Most of our decisions are driven by either love or fear. Figure out who’s doing the talking, then decide what you’ll do.”
Figure out who is doing the talking in your head. Is it a statement derived from love or from fear? Don’t let the lies define who you are when there is a true identity waiting for you to take hold of it, and put it on.